Friday, February 13, 2009

Makes the World Go 'round

Every where I turn someone is talking about money, either directly or indirectly. We're all so consumed with how we spend it. If we're saving enough of it. Where our next dose of it is coming from. Its all money, money, money, lately.

Not surprising, really, with the media shoving recession-fear into our hearts every time we turn on the TV. Its fair to say these are tough times for a good number of Americans, but isn't that true anytime someone loses a job or can't pay the bills?

We are not above the money talk around here. MMA and I have had our own meeting of the minds several months ago to make sure we're on track for today's circumstances and planning for the "what ifs" that could be around the corner. It's not fun to consider scary things like losing a livelihood or medical emergencies. But...

Once you've done what you can to take care of your family, the rest is in God's hands. Not that I want to be a homeless martyr, but every thing we own, including our house, is dispensable. (Did I say that? Crap! I like my stuff.)

Warning:
Political Commentary

Turn away as needed

So what about this massive stimulus bill?! Can anyone tell me exactly where this nearly 800 billion dollars is coming from? I don't disagree with pumping money into the economy right now, but if its on the condition of printing more and more of an ever-depleting dollar, I need help connecting the dots. Maybe there's an ivy-league economist who can explain it to me.

I'm so cynical about how these things work. How many FAT palms will be greased on the road to helping the average American keep their head above water? We heard very little about the fat that slipped in with this bill, so apparently the media is on board.

(And, honestly...is it understood in Washington that our days of involvement in the war are numbered and that that money is being quietly diverted back home? Too little coverage has me worried that this economy has created the perfect excuse to speed up the exit plan. What is the exit plan? I pray its not, "we can't afford this anymore, we're out" or worse, a de facto withdrawal that leaves token soldiers behind to be slaughtered.)

Can you tell I love to hate the media's biased coverage of all things political?

It's Hope and Change one day, and Gloom and Doom, the next! My three year old reminds me when I slip up that "hate" is not a nice word. So I love to loath the media...actors who sit behind a desk! Talk Soup has more journalistic integrity than the networks! (Fox, you're no better, you just happen to see things my way.) Its really about advertising dollars, isn't it?

Back on the Home Front

Let's talk about real lives and adapting to the "end of the gilded age" as Nightline dubbed it last week. [Rolling my eyes.]

Well for one thing, my new rule is that I don't pay full price on anything anymore. If it ain't on sale, I can wait. If doesn't go on sale, I don't need it.

Remember my post about turning tricks? I'm pretty proud of this new skill. Some weeks I spend only $40 or $50 on groceries (when the freezer is full and I plan our meals based on my stockpile.) Other weeks I spend the full $100 dollars but those are weeks that I buy wine, stock up sale items or splurge. I don't feel like we're making any major sacrifices, I'm just more careful in general. And I haven't paid for things like toothpaste, toilet paper and shampoo in months by following blogs like MSM and SOC. (These ladies are also in the know about how to get free magazine subscriptions, dinners out, even free undies from Victoria's Secret!)

My new favorite find is Shortcuts.com and Cellfire.com which are paperless coupon sites that allow you download coupons to your cellphone or Kroger card which are automatically applied at the store. You can double dip by stacking the paperless coupons with clipped coupons and that's how you can get things free. Since I started using these sites, my target price for a box of cereal is $1 or less. This is fun for me, don't judge!

I had a reality check around the holidays when I looked at my pantry stockpiled with lots of free or almost free foods that we just don't eat and I had to acknowledge that I'd taken things a bit far. It doesn't matter if I get instant potatoes for 12 cents a box...we don't eat instant potatoes! We donated bunch of perfectly good food and my shopping is now the wiser for it.

One casualty in all of this is spontaneity. I don't call MMA on shopping day anymore to ask what he wants for dinner. I don't buy $5 pints of strawberries just because they look good. We eat what is seasonal and on sale. Meals out are planned. Brand loyalty went out the window, too. I still buy MMA his precious Mach 3 razors, but he has to use them until their dull enough for Only Child to play with, then we recycle them as a toy...Wanted to see if you're still listening.

How is money driving your life these days?

6 comments:

Kelly said...

I love your wit and I'm in complete agreement with your views.

I like my stuff too, sometimes too much. Thanks for the reminder.

Terra said...

I absolutely love your blog and tell all my friends about it often! I too am trying to buy things on sale (and get some for free even) but it is hard to resist buying 12 cent potatoes...I decided I may pick some of those items up and drop them at a local church or something.

and don't get me started on the economy, the media and Mr. Pres...I could go on for hours and most of VOTING america would not like what I had to say and the rest of America might agree but they didn't vote so I don't want to talk to them.

Girly Stuff said...

I need to get on board this train with you. The money saving grocery train. Is Genevieve on it too?

Can you imagine how long it will take to finish a bridge repair when it is federally funded! Yikes!

I hope it is a good thing for us in the end. It appears to be an inevitability. It would kill me to see it be a disaster. I don't want to see a stimulus plan to fix a stimulus plan gone wrong.

Erin said...

So true. I have more cans of veggies than I'll ever use. But the good news is, stores are basically giving away clothing. Yippee!

chacha said...

I'm not an economist, well, I do have a minor and I an ivy-league dork, so I guess I'm sort of qualified to answer you. We're not really printing more money - we are borrowing it. Mostly from China (yay! [sarcasm]) - which is why I am trying to avoid buying things made in China (they don't need any more of our money). Anyway, the dollar will get weaker anyway just because the more debt we have outstanding, the "riskier" we are (just like consumers - more debt? lower FICO, etc).

I don't know that we're going to do anything with Iraq just yet - Obama's biggest thing right now is dealing with the economy, so I have a feeling any withdrawal from Iraq is going to be slower than originally promised. Which is expected in this situation.

Megan said...

Great post and thanks for the link!